A farewell to Nikki – our Deputy CEO and Director of Operations.

Our Deputy CEO and Director of Operations Nikki Morris leaves Big C today (14/09/2018) but before she goes we grabbed a quick five minutes with her to talk about Norfolk’s cancer charity. 

Nikki Morris (Centre) with Big C Chairman Carolyn Sexton and CEO Dr Chris Bushby at her leaving celebration.
A job is never finished, there’s always more you want to have done

Laughter floods out of Big C’s Deputy CEO and Director of Operations Nikki Morris’ office on the eve of her final day at Norfolk’s cancer charity. It’s a bittersweet day – we will miss her dearly –   everyone is grateful for the wonderful seven years she’s been at Big C, but we’re also happy for her as takes the next step in her career and moves to become a CEO at Age UK Camden in London.

During her time here, she’s become the heart of Big C – passionate about both the service we provide to the people of Norfolk and the research into cancer that is happening right here in our county. Nikki came onboard when Big C was looking to extend its Support and Information Services. She’d worked with the charity on setting up our first Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and it had been established that people wanted to be able to access services closer to home – Nikki was excited to join the team and deliver that next phase of development.

Nikki says: “In my time at Big C the biggest change has been the opening of three new Support and Information Centres but the team that work in those Centres and provide the services is without a doubt my biggest achievement.

“When I arrived, by and large, that team didn’t exist and when I look back I’ve either directly employed or been involved with the recruitment of every single person within Support and Information. We all care about what Big C stands for and the people we look after, we all care passionately that Big C continues and we also care for each other.

“Big C is a very hands-on charity, and being part of the Executive Team here means you are only one step away from the people you are helping. I can walk over the road to a Centre and be supporting a patient within half an hour. It ensures you never forget what we are doing.

“And that is what makes the Big C Support and Information Centres so special. We use a acute mixed staffing model, with nurses and non-medical staff – our Centres aren’t medicalised. Big C is there to provide information  when needed but we also help with the social impact and psychological aspect of cancer too. It’s a community.

“We’ve always looked at the person – we don’t segment out the cancer – when a person walks through the door of one of our Support and Information Centres they are a person. Cancer comes second to getting to know them. Visitors to the Centres dictate the agenda, we don’t make assumptions and don’t operate a one-size fits all approach.

“One of the things Big C does well is making sure everyone’s voices are heard, we are there for everybody. I feel very strongly about that.

“Big C has all of the components, and it all comes together to make something very powerful and unique. Often charities only focus on one aspect – support, research or education but we bring it all together – and it’s done well. We are at a very exciting point were one branch feeds off the other and that’s very powerful and very strong. Recently we’ve combined two things I’m very passionate about – research and support –  by commissioning a piece of research with Professor Andy Jones from the UEA looking at the effect it has on people diagnosed with cancer to access our services. I’m delighted that we’ve done that. I have no doubt it will help Big C continue the upward spiral of excellence.

“A job is never finished, there’s always more you want to have done but I leave this job knowing there’s a strong, capable and skilled team that will continue to take the work forward. One shouldn’t be leaving a job, and feel that the whole thing will collapse and in this case I know that it won’t. The team will continue to be responsive to the needs of the people of Norfolk and Waveney and be ambitious to deliver the very best care, in the very best way – and that’s great for me to see – that’s the nice thing about having developed a team that’s fit for purpose – there’s always more that Big C can do and I know they’ll do it.”